MEET the man charged with making the vision of a Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID) a reality.
Ken Dunbar has been appointed as Chief Executive of the new BID company.
He will be responsible for leading a project which will see at least £3.4million invested in the city centre over the next five years.
“I believe Sunderland has fantastic potential to grow and become a thriving city centre,” he said.
“The BID investment and initiatives we will start to roll out in April will act as an important catalyst for positive change.
“One of the first things I’ll be doing is getting out and about to meet with traders, businesses and organisations to hear their views about the challenges and opportunities facing the city.
“I want to make sure the BID gives businesses a real voice and influences key decisions in our city centre.”
Originally from Kirkcaldy, Ken is the former Chief Executive of Aberlour - Scotland’s largest children’s charity.
He was previously Chief Executive of Castle Morpeth Borough Council in Northumberland, where he oversaw the £40million improvement programme in Morpeth Town Centre.
With an early career in the leisure and culture sector, Ken has also managed major festivals and events in Brighton and Dudley.
Businesses voted in favour of setting up a BID, which will use a 1.5 per cent levy on business rates to pay for a range of improvement initiatives, in July.
Bridges boss Andy Bradley is chairman of the Interim BID Steering Board: “Ken’s appointment marks an exciting first step towards getting the BID up and running,” he said.
“Ken’s experience will be a tremendous asset for Sunderland. He has a superb track record in working with businesses and running high performing organisations to deliver outstanding results.
“His skills in fund-raising will be an added benefit, as we aim to attract even more investment in the city.”